All the Love & Acceptance: Boss, Licensing & Collaboration Design Director, Pomelo

by | Jul 1, 2022

From serving drinks at Fashion Week to becoming the co-founder of his own fashion brand, Boss Thamatat Liangthamarath has come a long way. Through his vast experiences, he has witnessed the dynamic nature of Pride as the world and fashion industry changes. Now the Licensing & Collaboration Design Director at Pomelo, Boss bares it all in a candid interview–from his formative years in Rayong, to currently leading a passionate team at Pomelo

In honor of Pride Month, Boss took us through his experience in various roles in the fashion industry as well as shared with us what Pride is like in different times of his life.

What does #Pride mean to you?

When I hear the word “Pride”, I think of the history and the journey we have been through. It is the pride that stems from coming this far with both the painful and celebratory steps, the community’s determination, and the supportive allies. 

When I was young, a rigid binary existed where you were either straight or not. Meanwhile, the community was constantly portrayed in the media as the comedic supporting characters. But as the world became more open-minded, new images of the LGBTQ+ community also started appearing. The new generation, in particular, is becoming much more aware and accepting of who they are. Although slowly, I think more doors have definitely opened for the community and old stigmas and stereotypes are being broken. So I don’t want people to think that Pride is all about fun and happiness. It’s about all we lost and gained. It’s being proud of all aspects that makes us who we are. This is Pride. 

Who was your role model growing up? 

My mom. She’s a person who really had to overcome traditional social norms that she grew up with. She had to learn to be open to all of these less conventional concepts to understand me. I’m talking about a time almost 20 years ago when anything LGBTQ+ wasn’t widely known or accepted. Through all of these changes, she has stood by me and supported me to be the best version of myself.

In your coming out process, what would be the best thing for others to say?

During that time, the sentence that helped me most was a simple “It’s ok”. It was a sentence that soothed me and told me that there was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t need anything like a motivational quote. Amid this journey filled with self-contradiction, confusion, and guilt, just someone telling me “it’s ok” helped lift the burden in my heart and was greatly meaningful for me.

What was the first LGBTQ+ TV show or film that you remember resonating with you?

Queer as Folk was my favorite when I was a child. The show portrayed every angle of the LGBTQ+ community from love to success to choosing the wrong paths.

What was the most recent LGBTQ+ show or film that made an impact on you?

I really liked RuPaul Drag Race. Not only does the show embrace diversity and the uniqueness in everyone, it also really fascinated me how a person can overcome everything through hard work, patience, and determination. I also recommend Call Me By Your Name and Heart Stopper. Both portray LGBTQ+ love in a very nice way while not romanticizing it.

Do you have an ultimate queer icon?

RuPaul and Poy Treechada.

Do you have a favorite Pride song or queer anthem?

Anything by Beyonce!

When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community today, what common misconceptions do people still have?

Many assume that all LGBTQ+ members are funny and outgoing. But that’s not necessarily true. They can be serious, shy or reserved just like everyone else. Also, people should approach the notion of gender fluidity as something that exceeds sexual orientation or who you are attracted to. How you identify yourself isn’t limited to whether you like men or women or what biology says.

I hope more people will understand that those who identify as LGBTQ+ are also normal people. We have different emotions and different personalities. So I think if we’re aware of the diversity among individuals and don’t make it a barrier to building relationships, anybody regardless of their background, could be friends.

How would you define an ‘inclusive workspace’?

More generally, an inclusive workspace for me means a workspace with no boundaries that prevents anybody, regardless of their age, sex, seniority level, or nationality, to offer their ideas. At Pomelo, no matter what level you are at, the environment is one that welcomes what everyone has to say. Although we have colleagues from diverse nationalities, it has never prevented anyone from voicing their opinions. And LGBTQ+ members are never offended or prevented from showing their true potential. In my opinion, I think this is true inclusivity–a space where everybody hears each other and is never afraid to make themselves heard.

What’s the best part about working at Pomelo?

On a personal level, Pomelo really respects your self-management. Whether it’s flexible working hours or hybrid working arrangements, I really feel like Pomelo respects and prioritizes your well-being and self-management. Professionally, I like how Pomelo always pushes me to be a better version of myself. The environment may be tough as we’re building something new. But there’s also always room for learning. I can say with confidence that my skills and business mindset are totally on another level compared to last year.

What does your role at Pomelo look like?

Currently, Pomelo offers 2 main types of products. The first is In-House products where we do end-to-end clothing production where we design, develop, and produce our products.  The second is what I’m currently taking care of as Licensing & Collaboration Design Director. Here, we buy licenses of characters or collaborate with other brands to create exclusive collections. Our team’s key role is to drive excitement and brand awareness and connect the Pomelo brand with the outside world.

Another responsibility that I was recently given is production control or ODM. Since we are moving our production base to China, I have to coordinate production with our Chinese office and find ways to serve the market and customers’ demands.

Tell us a little about your foray into the world of fashion.

I always wanted to be a fashion designer who could creatively express himself through art. I studied fashion design at Chulalongkorn University, during which time I got many opportunities to work in the industry. I worked with Thai brands like Greyhound, Teera, and Realistic Situation. I also worked in Elle Fashion Week, exploring many roles from serving water to styl
I also had a couple of stints managing The Only Son, a unisex brand and later llustrating for Chanel and Vogue Thailand. Soon after I co-founded HER La Femee with Ploy Horwang, a friend and leading Thai actress. I rejoined ALIST as Head Designer for Matter Makers, and soon after joined Pomelo. This, I felt, was the perfect blend of all my skills – both from a design and managerial perspective. 

Finally, if you had a #Pride message for the world, what would it be?

Make every day better. I would say going from 1 to immediately 100 is impossible. Even now, true equality has not been achieved–some still lack basic human rights. But I think it’s important to keep pushing forward bit by bit so that one day we can actually be equal in all aspects.

*For Pride Month, we are shedding the spotlight on 3 passionate Pomelo LGBTQ+ staff to share their personal journey, deep dive into what this month means for them, and tell us their story: loud and proud. 

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